Australian music legend Mick Thomas and his Roving Commission are set to release their second album in a year next month, with City’s Calling Me being announced this week.
Having recorded See You On The Other Side: A Postcard From April 2020 during lockdown last year, and releasing it in June of 2020, Thomas and his musical friends have undoubtedly had a busy year despite enduring countless ups and downs, with another new record emerging as a result of the last 12 months.
Initially setting to work on a simple covers record – including tracks by the likes of Van Walker, Sally Kimber, Marcel Borrack, Charles Jenkins, Peter Lawler, and Legends of Motorsport – Melbourne’s second lockdown soon saw it grow into something a bit more substantial, with Thomas dusting off some of his own material for inclusion as well, including the beloved “Under the Clocks”.
With the album almost done, a last-minute inclusion of Barry Humphries’ poem “The Suburbs in Between” helped serve as the icing on the cake, despite pushing the new album back in 2021. With Brian Nankervis reading the poem, it serves as a contextual cornerstone for the record, and a masterful centrepiece which strengthens and lifts the album into new territory.
“I think it was worth the wait,” Thomas explains. “It was originally in my head as the cornerstone of the whole record.”
Recruiting old friends and contemporaries – including the likes of Tim Rogers, Angie Hart, and Weddings Parties Anything’s Jen Anderson – the result is a masterful mix of songs which, in the Dutch tradition of Jordaanlied, see contemporary tracks taking on an air of nostalgic sentiment, and allowing them to be reinterpreted in a new light given the year that has been.
“Perhaps 2020 was a year when we were all forced to evaluate what was most important to us, what we could do without and what we missed the most,” Thomas explains. “For me it was an easy answer: I missed playing music with other people – something I was able to approximate in isolation – and I missed being out and about in the city I have spent the last 30 year bumping around.
“So the city was something I was forced to reimagine as well. But it’s a city that could be anywhere in the world – insert your own place names. Because it’s the city of the heart’.”
City’s Calling Me is on track to be released on April 29th, while Mick Thomas is set to take on a double shift at next month’s Bluesfest, appearing with both the Roving Commission and up the front of a rare performance from Weddings Parties Anything.
Mick Thomas’ Roving Commission will release City’s Calling Me on April 29th via Brickfielders Recording, with pre-orders available now.
City’s Calling Me tracklist:
1. “Keeping All the Cannons Clean”
2. “High Street Bridge”
3. “Captain Collingwood”
4. “Corner of Bent Street and High”
5. “Talking Talking Lion Blues 2020”
6. “Under the Clocks 2020”
7. “The Suburbs in Between (with Brian Nankervis)”
8. “Regent to Ruthven”
9. “The Met Police”
10. “The Sound of a Train”
11. “At the Corner”
12. “Forever Now”